Case Studies

Coulibistrie, Dominica, 15°27′ N 61°27′ W

Kassandra, working with the University of Portsmouth, has recently completed a study in the Caribbean to define a series of key guidelines for the improvement of resilience of coastal communities to extreme climatic events caused by Climate Change.

The project focuses on two island nations of the Caribbean – Dominica and Grenada – different for geographical location and morphology, but both subject to great risk from severe weather events and other natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

The guidelines bring together two different perspectives within Kassandra: a deterministic data-based analysis and a situated ecology assessment that includes human perspective. This method has allowed for the development of a more in-depth, comprehensive, and holistic understanding of the capacity of a system to be resilient and adaptable.

The study saw the application of Kassandra on fifteen sites in the two islands analysing the current resilience of buildings, infrastructure, environment, air, and heritage.

The recommendations, developed by Kassandra via iterative scenarios, include considerations about the five key factors that resulted to be the most influential ones in mitigating the risks and improving the overall resilience index:

  • The geographical and topographical location of settlements
  • The form of individual buildings
  • The configuration and arrangement of clusters of buildings
  • Construction techniques and materials
  • The capacity of inhabitants to be self-sufficient for longer periods of time

In addition to applying Kassandra to the sites on both islands, a prototype building design was developed that takes into account the results of the Kassandra study and proposes an ideal resilient building capable of withstanding and adapting to most natural disasters.

Coulibistrie – Optimal Scenario

Mark Cannata, CEO of Kassandra says “The project is proof that Kassandra’s methodology and approach can provide decision-makers with significant data to allow for the improvement of quality of life in very diverse contexts.”

“On the basis of the conclusions from Kassandra” Mark Cannata continues “it has also been possible to outline the characteristics of a building that would achieve high degrees of resilience.  Clearly this is an abstract solution, but, nevertheless, many of the construction and design aspects identified could be retrofitted to existing buildings, increasing their resilience to extreme events brought about by climate change.”

Modica, Italy, 36°51′ N 14°45′ E

Modica has a medium sized historic centre set in a deep valley in South East Sicily at 36N degrees latitude, which cuts across the largest portion of the Mediterranean. Its relatively small size allows for a good number of data types to be analysed without the great volume that a large city would generate.

  • Its population, 55.000 inhabitants, and relative compact size and topographical and historic conformation make it representative for most small and medium sized towns in the areas of the Mediterranean that are likely to suffer first and more severely from climate change.
  • It has a complex topography, with deep valleys, plateaus and hills which allows for different scenarios that can be applied to other towns throughout the region and beyond.
  • It is a Unesco World Heritage site, a benchmark for the quality of the historic urban environment. The historic layering of the town allows us to look back at successful pre-industrial vernacular solutions, as well as the effect of later urban and architectural interventions.